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Full text of "Groundcover News Vol. 3 no. 4 April 2012"

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OPINION 



Ann Arbor skatepark: keeping the dream alive 



Groundcover heard from quite a few 
readers about the Skatepark opin- 
ion piece that we ran in January. 
We agree that there was insufficient 
fact-finding and apologize for that. 
Below is a response we received from 
Diana L. Kern, Treasurer and Fund- 
raising Chairperson of Friends of the 
Ann Arbor Skatepark. 



Dear Editor: 

I am responding to an opinion piece 
written by Brett Bauder, Groundcover . 
Contributor, in the February 2012, 
which asked "Will Ann Arbor ever 
get a skateboard park?" When I read 
the opinion piece it was clear that the 
author was sorely misinformed about 
the current status of the project. I 
would like to set the record straight. 

I am one often all-volunteer board 
members for Friends of the Ann Arbor 
Skatepark. We are the nonprofit formed 
in late 2009 that has been working for 
the last two years to raise $1 million 
to build a free, concrete, outdoor 



GROUNDCOVER NEWS 
MISSION: 

Groundcover News 
exists to create opportunity 
and a voice for low-income 
people while taking action 
to end homelessness and 
poverty. 

O usan O ec ^ e tt, Publisher 
contact@groundcovernews.com 

j_ee /xlexancier, j ditor 
c.lee@groundcovernews.com 

Andrew |\]ixon, 
/\ssociate L_ditor 

Contributors 
Martha Brunell 
Gregory Hoffman 
Carolyn Lusch 
Shoshana Mandel 
Robert Salo 
Karen L. Totten 

Letters to the f^ ditor: 
editor@groundcovernews.com 

jtoru or [ hoto Submissions: 
submissions@groundcovernews.com 

Advertising 
contact@groundcovernews.com 

www.groundcovernews.com 

425 S- +th Ave, Ann Arbor 

7^-971-0916 



skatepark for the citizens of greater Ann 
Arbor; a park on the same level as Riley 
Park, the one the author mentioned 
in his piece. Yes, it really does cost $1 
million for a quality skatepark. I serve 
as the board's treasurer and fundraising 
chair. We use the Ann Arbor Area 
Community Foundation (AAACF) as 
our fiscal partner. This was done early 
on to demonstrate our commitment to 
strong fiscal oversight. Money raised 
is deposited and held at the skatepark 
fund at AAACF. This includes money 
that has been raised for building 
the park and for the maintenance 
endowment for the skatepark. 

What bothered me about the authors 
piece was.HOt his impatience in having- 
a park, but his accusation that the 
nonprofit has mishandled or stolen 
money earmarked for this effort. I 
find opinion pieces that lack facts to 
be frustrating; in this case, they could 
unintentionally hurt the fundraising 
efforts to make the skatepark dream a 
reality. 

If the author had contacted us before 
writing the piece, we would have been 
happy to let him know "where the 
money is." To date, our nonprofit and 



the youth of Ann Arbor have been able 
to garner grants, individual donations, 
event proceeds, merchandise proceeds,, 
a Tony Hawk Foundation grant, a 
Michigan Department of Natural 
Resources grant, and a matching gift 
of $400,000 from the Washtenaw 
Parks and Recreation Department. 
This combined total represents over 
$800,000 as of this letter. The County 
will hold and control distribution of 
the matching funds. The City will hold 
the Department of Natural Resources 
grant, which has been awarded but not 
yet funded. This is an unparalleled task 
for an all-volunteer group, especially 
in today's economy! Also, the public/ 
private collaboration of a nonprofit, 
the City of Ann Arbor, the County 
Parks and Recreation leadership as - 
well as citizens, foundations and 
philanthropists is one of the most 
amazing fundraising efforts I have 
ever witnessed for the youth of our 
community. They say "it takes a village" 
and it sure has. Our community should 
be proud. Has it taken longer than 
everyone hoped? For sure! Do we see 
a light at the end of the tunnel? Yes we 
do! 

We had to raise the majority of money 



Dear Editor: 



In previous articles in Groundcover, 
readers may have read about Camp 
Take Notice (CTN), the democratically 
self-governing tent community of 
homeless people located on Ann Arbor s 




western edge. CTN's democratic self- 
governance and emphasis on self-help 
through community living make CTN 
unique in the Midwest, as does CTN's 
relationship with MISSION (Michigan 
Itinerant Shelter System Interdependent 
Out of Necessity). 



CTN has been forcibly 
evicted five times in 
three years, twice from 
MDOT land. For the 
past two years, however, 
CTN has been located 
at its current MDOT- 
owned site. Because CTN 
campers voted to stay at 
their current location, 
MISSION works to 
prevent eviction, unless 
CTN is first relocated to 
a better location that is 
approved by a vote of CTN 
campers. 

To enhance CTN's ability 
to stay at its current 
location, MISSION 
works to ensure 
good relationships 
with neighbors, law 
enforcement, service 
agencies and others. 
MISSION also periodically 
meets with MDOT 
representatives regarding 



(80 percent) before we could issue 
Requests for Proposals (RFPs) - this 
is happening now. At this point a 
build and design committee has been 
activated since January 1, 2012. It is 
working hard, but the process will 
take until next year. This includes 
RFPs, changed memorandums of 
understanding, requesting bids, review 
of bids, construction documents, 
several approvals, building the park, 
and final inspections. Oh, and yes, we 
still need to raise about $175,000. If all 
the stars align, the skatepark will be 
available to skate next year - 2013! 

If you wantto help us complete the 
skatepark funding effort, join us this 
year at one of our awesome events, buy 
a brick for the park, purchase some cool 
merchandise at ACME Mercantile, or 
just visit our website, www.a2skatepark. 
org, and donate online! 

Dream It! Build It! Skate It! 

Sincerely, 

Diana L. Kern 

Treasurer and Fundraising Chairperson 
Friends of the Ann Arbor Skatepark 
www. a2skatepark. org 



Camp Take Notice launches an online petition 



CTN. MISSION learned, however, that 
heads of several state agencies recently 
met in Lansing to discuss CTN. 
Because MISSION and CTN were 
not invited to this Lansing meeting, 
MISSION and CTN are operating 
with litde information. MDOT's 
prior evictions % of CTN, however, also 
occurred in the spring. 

Your help is needed. To assist in- 
MISSION'S advocacy on behalf of CTN, 
sign our online petition at: 

www.ipetitions.com/petition/ctn 

MISSION is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, 
advocating for and assisting CTN. 
MISSION'S governing board, comprised 
of both homeless CTN campers 
and housed community members, 
addresses CTN's needs and coordinates 
community assistance to CTN. CTN 
campers, not MISSION, run CTN. 
MISSION, however, vigorously 
advocates for CTN and its homeless 
campers. 

To learn more about MISSION, CTN or 
to work with MISSION, email 

missiona2(at)googlegroups. org 
Sincerely, 

Peggy Lynch 
MISSION President 



www. groundcoverrtews . com 



I 



RELIGION 



Farewell Laurie, and Thank You! Best of luck 




by Susan Beckett 
Publisher 



Laurie Lounsbury, the founding editor 
of Groundcover, has made an impact 
that will never be forgotten by those of 
us who worked with her. She picked up 
the production side of Groundcover 
News, put it on her back and carried it 
to a point of sustainability. She came 
up with the name Groundcover, found 
the printer, designed the look of the 
paper, created and updated the website, 
set editorial policies, laid out the 
articles, contributed some hysterical 
humor pieces and did a great deal of 
editing, too. 

Most of these many hours devoted to 
the paper have been on a volunteer 
basis. Laurie now needs that time to 



build up her freelance business (The 
Lateral Thinker) and recover from the 
economic downturn. Those of us who 
so appreciate her sense of 
humor are thrilled that 
she will continue to share 
some of her writing with 
us. 

Putting out a newspaper 

is a stressful endeavor, 

especially in the packed 

days prior to printing 

the next issue. Time 

and again, even with 

work conflicts adding 

further pressure, Laurie 

came through for us, her 

commitment to our vendors never 

wavering. 




Laurie Lounsbury 



Laurie - and so many others who 
have been my partners in enormous 
endeavors like Groundcover - please 
understand that my 
failure to communicate 
my gratitude did not 
reflect an absence of 
appreciation. Rather, I 
integrated your identity 
with mine, thinking of 
us as a single organism, 
united to achieve 
a specific goal, and 
thanking you would 
have felt like thanking 
myself. 



Too often, I neglected to thank her and 
let her know how much she is valued. 
It is so easy to take for granted those on 
whom you lean heavily. 



Snap judgments 




by Rev. Dr. Martha 

Brunei! 

Pastor, Bethlehem 

United Church of Christ 



In this era when things 
are often judged by how quickly they 
take place, fast, faster, and fastest is 
highly prized. Many of us have had 
the experience of purchasing the latest 
quick technological device, only to 
have the sinking feeling as we left 
that parking lot that a newer, faster 
version would soon be in the stores. 
Even before these days of superfast 
everything, snap judgments were 
in vogue. We all have a tendency to 
judge a book by its cover or to form an 
impression of someone or a situation 
on the thinnest of information. 

One recent Monday morning I was 
standing in the church office talking 
with the parish administrator about 
several topics. I was due to teach a 
class in a few minutes, and there were 
a number of things happening in the 
building that morning. As she and 
I spoke about a couple of matters of 
importance, a young man who was 
doing work for the church that day 
came up to us. He interrupted our 
conversation with these words: "I 
hate to butt into a gossip session. . ." 
I was speechless for a second and 
then furious with the snap judgment 
he made. Did it have something to 
do with our age? Was it because we 
were both female? Was he certain his 
work and time were more valuable 



than ours? Was he that unaware of the 
number of weighty matters that are 
regularly discussed within the walls 
of faith communities? I turned to him 
and said, "I'm the head of staff in this 
building and don't engage in much 
gossip." Apparently, when I then walked 
to go to class, he said within earshot of 
others: "Well I guess the church isn't 
much fun." Someone responded back to 
him that his comment had been rude. 

I have made my share of snap 
judgments, often inaccurate ones 
grounded in almost nothing. Those 
judgments allow us to dismiss people, 
to make efficient choices, to move on, 
and on occasion to remain unaffected 
by something or someone who might 
shift our understanding or change 
where we stand. 

Tucked into the magic of Groundcover 
is the opportunity to get beyond fast, 
uninformed assessments of others 
who are different from us. This paper 
is about relationship. It opens door 
after door into the stories that we are 
all living and lugging around. Through 
Groundcover, we are on a first-name 
basis, and our circle of care enlarges. 
Groundcover gives us cause to pause 
with fundamental realities around 
housing. It makes us uncomfortable 
but also nudges us to grow. And it isn't 
about gossip; it's about substance. 

I hope that the next time I am about to 
make an unnecessary snap judgment, I 
remember the young man in the church 



You have been the 
most precious companions in my life. 
My husband, with whom I've built a life 
and raised two children, my RESULTS 
partners with whom I've worked to 
end the worst aspects of poverty, and 
the dedicated Groundcover volunteers 
who have made this enterprise flourish: 



office and his ridiculous comment. 
And I hope when I am at the edge of 
committing to that quick assessment, 
that I remember to be grateful for 
Groundcover and the more nuanced, 



please accept this very public and 
belated thank you. 

If you see Laurie around, please let her 
know how much you appreciate her 
contributions to Groundcover and our 
community. Keep her in mind for your 
marketing and website needs. 

The torch has passed to our assistant 
editors who will now be operating as 
co-editors. Lee Alexander is taking over 
layout and Andrew Nixon will do even 
more of the editing and proofreading 
he performs with such mastery. Please 
offer them your support. 

Change is challenging and 
uncomfortable, but it is an inevitable 
precursor to growth. We appreciate you 
being part of this next stage in our joint 
adventure and invite you to jump in 
further. 



interesting, and textured picture it 
offers us of one another. Thank you for 
the growing body of expression and 
experience that binds us together. 




the 




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"THtat fene&ettt coupon, at t&e time <t£ dittut^. S*fi&te& 5/1/2012. 






www. ground co vernews . com 



AROUND TOWN 



Mass transit and job access in Washtenaw County 



by Carolyn Lusch 
Groundcover Contributor 

For years now there have been plans 
in the works to expand the current 
Ann Arbor Transit Authority into 
a countywide authority. Currently, 
the system serves mainly the City of 
Ann Arbor, with routes in Ypsilanti 
and limited commuter services 
to Chelsea and Canton. The new 
system would provide a minimum 
of dial-a-ride services throughout 
Washtenaw County, with countywide 
express services to areas such as 
Saline, Milan, and Manchester, and 
potentially more regional connections 
to places such as Livonia and the 
airport. Despite intense controversy 
surrounding funding sources and 
local autonomy, on March 6 the 
Ann Arbor City Council approved a 
partnership with the AATA, the City 
of Ypsilanti, and Washtenaw County. 

Given the focus of Groundcover 
News, this article examines one 
specific element of public transit in 
this county: how it affects job access 
for those who do not have private 
transport. Is the current system 
adequate for transporting people to 
appropriate employment? Would the 
countywide system be a significant 
improvement? What changes, if any, 
do people who depend on public 




transit envision 
for the system? 

The answer to 

the first question 

turned out to be 

a decided "no." 

While almost 

everyone I spoke 

to was supportive 

oftheAATAin 

general, most 

were able to offer 

a different vision 

of the future. 

"Extending bus 

access out of 

the city further 

and extending 

hours" are the 

most important 

changes, 

according to 

Peggy Lynch, 

a board 

member for 

Michigan Itinerant Shelter System 

- Interdependent Out of Necessity 

(MISSION), a local nonprofit 

that supports self-governing tent 

communities. 

I went to one such community in Ann 
Arbor, Camp Take Notice, to discuss 
what the campers themselves - none 
of whom own cars and several of 




Sunday! 



Reverer 



Stacey Simpson Duke 

517 E.Washington St 

(between State & Division) 

734-663-9376 

www.fbca2.org 




FIRST BAPTIST 

CHURCH OF ANN ARBOR 



WHERE TRADITION MEETS PROGRESSIVE 
INQUIRY AND CREATIVE WORSHIP 



■■! 



whom either work or take classes - 
think of the bus system. "Everything 
I see is positive," said Vince, a local 
resident who was visiting a friend at 
the camp for Sunday dinner. Vince 
acknowledged that it was sometimes 
difficult to get around late at night, 
but believes that Night Ride is usually 
sufficient, especially since the end of 
January, when it extended its service to 
Ypsilanti. 

Alonso Young, a camper and a student 
at Washtenaw Community College, 
agreed that the service hours are 
inadequate. "They stop running early 
on Sundays," he noted, which can 
complicate trips to work or school. 
Young also cited a time when he was 
unable to apply for a group home due 
to his lack of transportation. 

Alanna, another camper, echoed this 
point, observing that "people have 
shifts after six." But for her, an even 
greater challenge has been the limited 
reach of the service. When working 
at the Taco Bell on Jackson and Zeeb 
Roads, she had to ride her bicycle 
because the bus routes did not extend 
that far west. Riding there every 
morning was a physical strain and also 
a risk: the sidewalk was not 
shoveled in the winter, and 
the road was slick, narrow, 
and full of rushing vehicles. 
After experiencing a bad fall 
that required a trip to the 
emergency room, Alanna felt 
it necessary to leave the job 
for her safety. "They need to 
extend at least to Zeeb and 
Jackson," she concluded. 



Traveling in the other direction, 
from the outskirts into downtown, I 
encountered a similar mix of approval 
and suggested changes. According to 
Brian Durrance, member of MISSION, 
the jobs available for people in Camp 
Take Notice are largely to the west of 
Ann Arbor, as service jobs downtown 
and on campus are aimed at university 
students. Nonetheless, retaining and 
improving central Ann Arbor service 
has been a major concern for those 
skeptical of the countywide plan. 

For Nancy Shore, director of 
getDowntown, an organization 
that provides green commuting 
programs and services to employees 
and employers in the Ann Arbor 
area, the bus service plays a vital role 
in the local economy. According to 
Shore, "A lot of employees who work 
in downtown Ann Arbor don't live 
in downtown Ann Arbor," largely 
because of the high cost of rent. These 
people, however, are important to the 
functioning of downtown businesses. 
According to the 2011 getDowntown 
survey, conducted by CJI Research, 16 
percent of employees studied do not 
have a vehicle available to commute 

see BUSES, page 11 




je Organique 
EVERYTHING, 

i fourth ave. 

suite !-,■* -• nun aflxor 
T34.222.92mu 

;; etuaboutique.com 

m':V'\ iv'tsuu';; u:t|v' o.,-.:-. ?:runu Cfe 



www. qroundcovernews.com 



COMMUNITY 



Changing homelessness on the soccer field 



by Robert Salo, Groundcover 
Vendor & Greg Hoffman, 
Groundcover Social Work Intern 

A tournament next month gives 
folks a chance to see the local 
homeless soccer team in action. 
Inspired by the growing popularity 
of the Homeless World Cup, the 
Washtenaw County Project Outreach 
Team (PORT) formed a team in the 
summer of 2007. This recreation 
program is specifically designed to 
provide exercise and socialization 
opportunities for individuals in 
Washtenaw County who have 
experienced or are currently, 
experiencing homelessness or 
housing insecurity. 

The Street Soccer Project Outreach 
Team (SSPORT) gathers on 
Thursdays to practice. The team 
also participates in tournaments 
both locally and nationally. Guided 
by its dedicated coaches, the 
SSPORT soccer program not only 
has a positive effect on the physical 
well-being of the participants, it 
also promotes their mental health. 
"It's a good way for people to feel 
good about themselves while 
they are getting treatment," said 
program co-founder and coach Sara 
Silvennoinen. 

The SSPORT program has made a 
measurable impact on the lives of 
the members of the team. Players 
develop strong relationships by 
engaging as members of a team and 
develop a strong sense of solidarity 
with each other on and off the field. 
Team member Ahmad Al-Basir said, 
"Its a healthy environment for people 
to get together and do something 
positive and team-oriented. It helps 
with both physical and mental 
health." 

Playing soccer provides the players 
with the opportunity to take their 
minds off the harsh realities and 
problems they face in their daily 
lives, and lets them instead focus 




The SSPORT team and coaches at the end of a tough practice at Wide World of Sports. 



At Trinity Lutheran Church, 

everyone is welcome, regardless of 

abilities, race, sexual orientation, 

gender identity, or faith journey. 

There Is A Place For You Here. 

trinity • lutheran • church 

ph: 734.662.4419 • fx: 734.662.4515 
web: trinityaa.org 
1400 w. stadium blvd. . ann arbor, michigart 48103 




on the game. The players are warmly 
welcoming to new participants and the 
program is very inclusive, regardless of 
the players' skill levels. David Altherr, 
SSPORT Team veteran who was 
selected to the 2010 Team USA that 
participated in the Homeless World 
Cup in Brazil, said, "We are all on the 
same team out here." 

This environment keeps people engaged 
and keeps them coming back. "People 
make a point to get here, regardless 
of their other situations," said Eastern 
Michigan Social Work intern Anna 
Byberg. 

Soccer has been an effective outreach 
tool because it provides an interactive 
and exciting opportunity that provides 
therapeutic results for the players. It is a 
form of mental and physical treatment 
that doesn't even seem like treatment. 
"Sara told me about it and I didn't have 
to think twice. I love it. Soccer has 
always been a big part of my life," said 
team member Raul Caraba. 

The SSPORT team practices at the 
Wide World Sports Center in Ann 
Arbor during the winter months and 
at Wheeler Park and West Park during 
the rest of the year. Anyone who wishes 
to play can participate in the local 
practices, and anyone over the age of 16 
who has experienced 
homelessness in the 
last year is eligible 
for the travel team. 
Coaches Sara 
Silvennoinen, Linda 
Bacigalupi, and Jim 
Bastian coordinate 
the soccer program 
with Byberg s help. 
"It's been rewarding to 
see how it helps with 
demeanor, self esteem, 



and gives the players a sense of family 
and community," said Bacigalupi. 

The Homeless World Cup Foundation 
was founded in 2001 by Mel Young and 
Harald Schmied. The idea to use soccer 
as an engagement tool for homeless 
individuals came out of a discussion 
about the need for a common language 
that could help create a support 
network for homeless populations 



cross-nationally. Young is also the co- 
founder of the International Network 
of Street Newspapers (INSP), a global 
network of 140 street publications that 
spans six continents; Groundcover 
News is a member. 

Young and Schmied came up with the 
idea for the Homeless World Cup at an 
INSP conference in 2001, with the hope 
that soccer would serve as the common 
language that could unite efforts to 
change homelessness around the world. 
This is reflected in the Homeless World 
Cup Federation Mission Statement: 
When a homeless person gets involved 
in football they communicate and build 
relationships with others; they become 
teammates, learning to trust and share; 
they have a responsibility to attend 
training sessions and games, to be on 
time and prepared to participate.They 
feel part of something. 

The first Homeless World Cup was held 
in Austria in 2003. There are now 73 
member nations with national teams. 
Since 2003, the Homeless World Cup 
Tournament has been held in Sweden, 
Scodand, South Africa, Denmark, 

see SOCCER, page 11 



HOMELESS 

...where LESS is 
not more for many 

Attend a 
HOMELESS HIGHLIGHT EVENT 

Representatives from four local organizations working with 
homelessness will describe what their group does, and indicate... 

Opportunities for individuals who wish to volunteer 

Organizations Represented: 



• Delonis Center • VA Homeless Program 

• Avalon Housing • Camp Take Notice 



When: Thursday, April 12, 2012 
7:00-8:00pm 

Where: Parish Activities Center (PAC) 

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church 
2250 East Stadium Blvd. 
Ann Arbor, Ml 

Sponsored by Peace & Justice, St. Francis of Assisi 



www. groundcovernews . com 



^^m 



■^^■■■H 



SSS i'l;- . ■' i ■ . 



AGENCY SPOTLIGHT 



Family atmosphere at Salvation Army s Staples Center 



by Lee Alexander 
Editor 

When mother of eight Delores Spratt 
arrived at the Staples Family Center 
nearly three years ago, she brought 
with her a bundle of six children and 
few other options for housing. Little 
did she know then that she had found 
a calling: to reach out to others, 
particularly mothers, facing similar 
hardships. 

Each year, the Staples Family Center 
houses more than 200 individuals and 
families, providing social services, 
support, laundry facilities and more 
than 1,200 meals annually. As part 
of the Washtenaw County Salvation 
Army, the Staples Center maintains 
36 beds for those confronting 
emergencies. 

Before moving to 3660 Packard 
Rd., Ann Arbor, the Salvation Army 
operated a smaller facility on Henry 
St. (called Arbor Haven Shelter). Arbor 
Haven opened more than 20 years ago, 
and was the region's first established 
homeless shelter. The Staples Center 
moved to its new home and changed 
its name in 2002. 

Chris Levleit is the center's program 
director. She joined the staff in 
2009, her background in social work. 
"Here we have people come in and 
they're approved for 30 days," Levleit 
explained, "then if they need more 
time to work on their goals, they can 
ask for an extension beyond, but we 
are limited to about 90 days here. We 
really don't have the ability for people 
to stay much more than that." 

Levleit said about.two-thirds of the 
center's residents are families and the 
remainder are individuals. That makes 
the Staples Center a little unusual. 
Other area homeless shelters house 
either families or individuals, but not 




Detores Spratt and agemy 1 tfmctQr Cttristme Levtett at the Staples Famity Center 



both. "We're kind of lucky that we can 
be a little flexible with that," Levleit 
said. "If I find that there's more need 
for family space, I can decrease, to 
some extent, the number of individual 
beds." 

How clients access human services 
throughout Washtenaw County, 
and specifically emergency housing, 
has recently changed. Instead of 
contacting programs like the Staples 
Center directly, now all shelter services 
referrals are filtered through a "single- 
point of access" - the Washtenaw 
County Housing Access Line (734-961- 
1999), run by SOS Community Services. 

"The families all come through Family 
Access and, for the most part, all the 
individuals mostly come through the 
Delonis Center now," Levleit said. "An 
individual might have a screening there 
and then might get a referral for us. It 
seems like that has gone pretty well. 
They're able to call me up and just 
send somebody over to meet me right 
away. 



"No one comes into the shelter here 
through us directly, and that's a 
change. We used to have a wait list. In 
some ways it was easier to get people 
in because I could just go down the 
list, in the past if I was having trouble 
finding somebody, I'd find somebody 
who's calling me every day. If they're 
calling every day, they're really needing 
to come in." 

Delores Pratt was one of those calling 
every day and really needing to 
come in. Pratt's husband had lost a 
comfortable middle-class job with the 
Detroit School Board in 2003. Unable 
to regain their footing, the family 
slowly crept toward homelessness. 
They reached their tipping point three 
years ago. 

"My husband was laid off," Pratt said. 
"They came through Detroit and they 
got rid of certain departments within 
the board of education. He was one of 
those who were in that department." 



Pratt's husband's unemployment 
benefits eventually ran out and her 
part time job wasn't enough to keep 
them afloat. They watched their 
savings slowly dissolving. As she put it, 
"we could just never catch back up." 

Today Pratt works full-time at Staples 
Center and her husband has earned his 
retirement. The family went from living 
at a homeless shelter to becoming 
homeowners in less than three years, 
a testament to the family's work ethic. 
Pratt is passionate about the program 
she describes as her "miracle place." 

"My experience is that when I sit down 
with the intakes," Pratt said, "I can see 
all the doubt and frustration, and I can 
easily identify with them. I tell them, 
'where you sit, I sat also.' 

"It gives them a picture of my life, to 
be transparent, because I don't have to 
share that with them. But I feel people 
can understand if you've walked in 
their shoes. It shows you care, because 
you've been there. You feel everything 
that they feel." 

Pratt said that it's, the mothers she 
can really connect with. It's mothers 
that take the role of caregiver and it's 
difficult for them when they are "not 
the hero." She said that a mother's 
instinct is to sacrifice for their children, 
and to see kids struggling, with poverty 
weighs heavily on the women, in 
particular. "With mothers," she said, "I 
can reach them." 

"I can see the tears that they're 
holding back just flow," Pratt said. 
"I try to let them know that the 
atmosphere here is like family. When 
you feel that you're part of a family, 
you feel more comfortable and secure, 
because family understands. That's 
one of my biggest things; to keep that 
atmosphere I had when I was here. As 
family, we're here for you." 




220 S. Main St. Ann Mxm; M 48104 P. 734.994.9898 



www. groundcovernews .com 



mawmmmWKMMWMMMMMMMMMmMMMMBMMMMM 



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MAKING A DIFFERENCE 




VERTY 

MILL! IUM 



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is: 



by Susan Beckett 

Two important achievements in reducing extreme poverty am. 
have hcen achieved several years ahead of schedule. The world has met the 
Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target of halving the proportion of 
people without sustainable access to sale drinking water and halving those 
living in extreme poverty. The MDGs are a set of targets adopted by world 
leaders at the United Nations in 2000 to light poverty, hunger and disease in 
poor countries. 

Well in advance of the MDG 2015 deadline, over two billion, p 
access to improved drinking water sources, such as piped supplies and 
protected wells, according to UNICEF and the World Health 
(WHO). 

In the March 6 report Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation 2012, United 
Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said,"Today we recognize a great 
achievement for the people of the world. This is one of the first MDG targets 
to be met. The successful efforts to provide greater access to d) 
are a testament to all who see the MDGs not as a dream, but a 
improving the lives of millions of the poorest people." 

The report, produced by the WHO/UNICEF |omt Monitoring Program for 
Water Supply and Sanitation, states that at the end of 2010, 89 percent of 
the world's population, or 6.1 billion people, used improved di 
sources. TShis is one percent more than the 88 percent MDG t ... 
estimates that by 2015, 92 percent of the global population wi! 
improved drinking water. 

"For children this is especially good news," said UNICEF Executive Director 
Anthony Lake. "Every thv more than 3,000 children die from diarrheal 
diseases. Achieving this goal will go a long way to saving children's lives." 

According to a February 29, 2012 press release from the World Bank, 

developing countries, as a group, appear to have already met a 

goal to halve extreme poverty in the worlds poorest countries 

many countries in sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America are still far short of 

the goal. 

"We are now confident that the developing world as a whole has reached the 
first of the Millennium Goals and reached that goal in 2010 d<" 
said Martin Ravallion, director of the World Banks research g 
of the reporting team. 




Bethlehem United Church of Christ 

423 S. Fourth Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48104 

(between William and Packard) 

www.bethlehem-ucc.org (734) 665-6149 

Bethlehem Church is home for the Groundcover Office 

Sundays: 

8:30 am and 10:00 am ~ Worship 

10:00 am ~ Church School 

Upcoming Events: 

April 5 - Maundy Thursday 

6:00 pm ~ Dinner and Worship 

April 6 ~ Good Friday . 

7:00 am to 7:00 pm ~ Vigil of the Cross 

Noon and 7:00 pm ~ Worship 

April 8 ~ Easter 

7:30 am ~ Sunrise Worship Service 

8:30 to 9:30 am ~ Easter Breakfast 

• 10:00 am ~ Worship 

April 19 ~ Lifeline Screening 

8:00 am to 4:00 pm 

April 27 ~ Parking Lot Pretzels 

Sales ~ noon to 4:00 pm 

an invitation to grow in spirit and serve with joy 







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4. Cattle breed 
9. Canvas stand 

14. Nineteenth century author 

15. Study 

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18. Fanaticism 

19. Lacking corners 

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24. Sensory organ protector 

25. African snake 

28. Typographic measurements 
30. South American quadruped 
32. Workroom of a sort 
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39. Ubiquitous American food ingredient 

40. Take ownership 

42. Card game 

43. Indian leader 

44. Small polymer 

45. Memphis 

47. Internet security protocol (abbr.) 

48. Refuse 

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61. 1933: A Wisconsin newspaper prints a 
doctored photo showing this building in 
ruins, alleging it's the result of explosions 
caused by "gas generated through many 
weeks of verbose debate." 

63. Garlic sauce 

66. Science of (suffix) 

67. Mauna 

68. Get lost! 

69. Jazz drummer Shelly 

70. Deco 

71. Heft 

72. Piglet 

73. Notice 

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3. Obtain 

4. Crimean river 

5. Most proximate 

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7. Liquid waste 34. Frozen dessert 

8. Slowpoke 36. Center 

9. 1986: A Paris newspaper reports that 37. " singular sensation" 

the Eiffel Tower is to be dismantled, 38. Television writer Saks 
then reconstructed at this location. 41. For each 

10. Soon > 46. Pasta 

11. Actor Gilliam 49. Red, White, or 8lack 

12. Employer's tax ID (abbr.) 51. Actor Wallach 

13. Preceded 54. Molecular components 

21. Garden implement 55. Washington city 

22. Louis , king of France 56. Lodge 

25. Anything 58. Aerospace missile 

26. Angry sound 59. Actor Roger 

27. Russian satellite 60. Make happy 

29. 1975: An Australian TV news show 61. Eastern European 
presents a 10-hour clock, supposedly 62. Scottish magpie 
heralding national conversion to this 63. Soot 
measurement system! 64. Glacier 

31. Pool necessity 65. Cyprus village 

32. Actors Cheryl and Alan 

33. Goodbye Puzzle by Jeff Richmond 





Solutions on page 1 1 



_ , ■' ■ i :■ -" • .. Ve:aciio>r Oocli.e 



While Groundcover News is a nonprofit 
organization and newspaper vendors 
are considered contracted self-employers, 
we still have expectations of how vendors 
should conduct themselves while selling and 
representing the paper. 

The following list is our Vendor Code of 
Conduct, which every vendor reads 
and signs before receiving a badge and pa- 
pers. We request that if you discover 
a vendor violating any tenets of the Code. 
please contact us and provide as many details 
as possible. Our paper and our vendjjtf^-r* 
should be posively impacting our County. 

All vendors mint agree to the following code of 

( Jroundcover News will be distributed 
for a voluntary donation of $1. 1 agree 
not to ask for more than a dollar or 
solicit donations by any other means. 
I will only sell current issues of Ground- 
iiiHHovex News.- i#;jf ik 'ij>» : y-il^l 

• I agree not to sell additional goods or 
products when selling the paper ort©. *jj 
panhandle, including panhandling with 
only one paper. 

• I will wear and display my badge when 
selling papers. 

• I will only purchase the paper from 
Groundcover News Staff and will not sell 
to or buy papers from other Groundcov- 



er News vendors, especially vendors who 
have been suspended or terminated. 

• I agree to treat all customers, staff, other 
vendors respectfully. I will not"hard sell," 
threaten, harass or pressure custom- 
ers, st aff. or other vendors verbally or 
physically. ' t * 

1 will not sell Groundcover News under 
3fegjjie influence of drugs or alcohol. 

I understand that 1 am not a legal 

employee of Groundcover News but a 
^Sptracted worker responsible for my 

own well-being and income. 
Sgiaundersiand that my badge is property 

of Groundcover News and will not 

deface it. I will present my badge when 

purchasing the papers. 

I agree to stay off private property when 

selling Groundcover News. 
SBSJnI understand to refrain from selling on 

public buses, federal property or stores 

unless there is permission from the 
ipyawnef... > > jf jgj? fe 

• I agree to stay at least one block away 
from another vendor. I will also abide by 
the Vendor corner policy.ASfe 

If you see any Groundcover News vendors 
pKMfvbidiug by the code of conduct, please 
report the activity to: 
contact@grouudcovernews.com 
734-9720926 







fcPbund 



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and flours, as well as high-end baking chocolates. Our nuts are freshly 
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wonderful selection of dark chocolate covered nuts and fruits. 



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shopping order. 
Expires 5/31/12 



Monday-Friday 8-8/Saturday 8-6/Sunday 10-5 

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615 South Main Street, Ann Arbor Ml, 48104 



www. groundcovernews . com 



«$sm§j« 



■ 



BUSINESS 



Groundcover News: changing the idea of "work" 



by Greg Hoffman, 

Groundcover Social Work 
Intern 

"How are we going to make our liv- 
ings in a society becoming increas- 
ingly jobless because of hi-tech and 
outsourcing? Where will we get the 
imagination to recognize that for 
most of human history the concept 
of Jobs didn't even exist? Work, 
as distinguished from Labor, was 
done to produce needed goods and 
services, develop skills and artistry, 
and nurture cooperation." 
- Grace Lee Boggs 

I first read this quote from leg- 
endary Detroit activist Grace Lee 
Boggs a few years ago when I was 
a union organizer. Ms. Boggs' mes- 
sage resonated with my sentiments 
toward the working-class struggle 
and the fight for rights in the 
workplace. As I look at it now, as a 
social work intern at Groundcover 
News, I can still see it through 
that lens, but there has also been a 
change in my perspective. Perhaps 
more paramount than the struggle 
for rights in the workplace is the 
struggle to find work in general. 



In the United States today, there is still a 
popular belief that each person controls 
his or her own economic status. This 
idea is commonly referred to as the 
American Dream, and is rooted in the 
stories of self-made industrial pioneers 
like Andrew Carnegie and Henry Ford. 
People who still hold this perception 
believe that anyone can change his 
or her situation by simply having the 
motivation to "work hard." But there is 
a reason this idea is called the American 
Dream and not the American Reality: 
the truth is that it is not that simple. 

As our country has transitioned away 
from a primarily production economy 
to a primarily service economy, the job 
market has continued to tighten and 
stratify. As little as thirty years ago, a 
high school diploma was enough for a 
job applicant to secure a job that would 
provide a middle class lifestyle. In 
todays job market, minimum require- 
ments for employment often include 
a college degree. According to the US 
Labor Bureau's projected statistics for 
February of 2012, there are more than 3 
million Americans with high school di- 
plomas that are currently unemployed. 
More starding, the same reports project 
that there are more than 2 million un- 
employed Americans who have at least 
a bachelor's degree. Because of multi- 
tudes of job applicants, employers are 



able to create increasingly selective and 
exclusionary policies for hiring new 
employees, including credit-checks and 
other measures to disqualify applicants. 

Another component to this problem is 
that a large number of the jobs that do 
exist in the United States, do not guar- 
antee financial security. Sociologists 
and economists report that more than 
ten percent of American households 
are classified as "working poor," with 
the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting 
nearly 9 million "working poor" adults. 
This refers to households in which the 
total household income is below the 
poverty line, despite the fact that at 
least one member of the household is 
employed full time. The United States 
has the highest rate of "working poor" 
households of any of the industrialized 
nations. 

In an economic climate such as this, 
there is an obvious need for "change," a 
term that served as the foundation for 
the Obama Presidential Campaign in 
2008. And although our national out- 
look is perhaps better now than it was 
four years ago, there is still a long way 
to go. To me, Groundcover News stands 
as a symbol of the type of change that 
is needed to move forward and is really 
what attracted me to the organization. 



Groundcover News incorporates an 
innovative approach to provide an 
income source for individuals who may 
have fallen through the social welfare 
safety net. There are no education 
requirements or credit-checks; all that 
is needed is the desire to change your 
situation. It is a re-imagination of the 
concept of a Job, as Ms. Boggs discusses 
in the quote. And for those who are 
otherwise excluded from many jobs 
because of the circumstances or deci- 
sions of their past, it is one of the few 
opportunities to make a change in their 
employment situation. 

But it is more than that. In addition 
to promoting an individual's ability to 
change their economic situation, I've 
come to realize that Groundcover News 
is able to change the way that people 
view homelessness. It is obviously not a 
cure-all approach, but selling Ground- 
cover allows vendors to impact the fear 
and ignorance that often causes people 
to just look the other way. I wouldn't 
necessarily say that it gives a voice to 
the homeless population; that implies 
that they don't have a voice. What I 
would say is that it provides a medium 
to project the voices that are already 
there but are so often ignored. 




Trivia passion spawns a business 




Final Writer's Workshop 

Saturday morning, April 21. 



Email contact@groundcovernews. 
com for location and registration 
information, or call 734-972-0926. 



by Susan Beckett 

An avid fan of popular sitcom How 
I Met Your Mother and trivia games, 
Ricardo Rodriguez wanted to test 
his trivia knowledge of the show. He 
found abundant footage of the show 
on YouTube, which he would halt at 
a certain point and pose questions 
about what comes next. Inspired by 
the enthusiastic response of his friends 
to the prototype Rodriguez developed 
last year with two other computer 
science graduate students, they 
brought in a student from the school 
of information, formed a company, 
and expanded the concept to a general 
purpose trivia development platform 
called YouTrivia, which went live last 
month. 

Businesses use this platform to 
engage and learn about potential 
customers through casual games. 
Teachers develop games that reinforce 
curriculum. The software includes 
analytics that can be used to target 



the questions and content to the users' 
background knowledge and interests 
and collect pertinent information. 

Working out of TechArb, the business 
incubator for University of Michigan 
students, the YouTrivia team sought 
advice on bringing the product to 
market. They requested an evaluation 
from local intelligent robotics company, 
SoarTech, whose staff presents at a U-M 
game theory class. Based on feedback 
from Mike Van Lent at SoarTech and 
mentor Jane Delancey, whom they met 
at the Great Lakes Entrepreneurship 
Competition, the YouTrivia team 
incorporated game theory into their 
product and targeted the tourist 
industry and university marketing 
departments as their initial customers. 

Visit YouTrivia.com to test your own 
knowledge of popular television shows, 
Michigan football, song lyrics, and 
places around the world. You can also 
make your own trivia game. 



www. groundcovernews.com 



THINK ABOUT IT 



Racism changes come "dropping slow" 



by Karen L. Totten 
Groundcover Contributor 



Julian lived with two of my friends and 
me one summer semester in the mid- 
708 while his girlfriend Donna worked 
at a children's camp. He paid her share 
of the rent and did her share of chores 
during the week; on 
the weekends our 
quartet became a 
quintet. Julian grew 
up in a small town 
near the Michigan- 
Indiana border. He 
and Donna had met 
on campus — just 
how I was not privy 
to — I only knew 
that he was smart 
and funny and easy 
to be around. 



Grandfather said once that some of 
his customers were Klansmen. I was 
shocked. They paid for their gas and oil 
with cash like everyone else, he said, so 
he didn't turn them away. I did not un- 
derstand this way of business. It seemed 
to turn a blind eye to the pain caused by 
this gang. 



•The cross-burning 
did not threaten my 
roomates and myself into 
maintaining one bigot's 
view of the status quo. 



Roommate Gail said the cross that 
burned in our backyard was put there 
by someone we all knew. I had a hard 
time accepting that — could we really 
have a friend who was filled with that 
much hate and anger yet hide it so well 
to our faces? I only heard rumors about 
the Klan when I was growing up; my 



Julian came to my 
parents' house once, for 
a pool party. A veneer 
of pleasantry wrapped 
around the interactions 
that night. When we 
left for the drive back 
to campus, I could see 
Julian was upset and 
he joked in a half sad, 
half sarcastic way about 
a feeling he perceived 
that some of the guests 
at the party envisioned 
him dressed in livery 
pants and cropped jacket to be placed 
out by the lamppost at the end of the 
driveway. I hadn't noticed his discom- 
fort, immediately guilty that I had put 
him in this position. It took some time 
to convince him I didn't think that way 
myself. 



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The shooting death of a Florida teenager in February again shines a spotlight on the uncomfortable 
issue of race in America. Photo by Rick Reinhard. 



The cross looked small and ugly, about 
three feet in height, planted quite close 
to the bedroom window of one of the 
women who lived downstairs. The grass 
lay scorched and achy grey. I stared at 
the burned wood in disgust. Fortunate- 
ly, it had not ignited the wooden house 
siding. Julian did not appear scared by 
this incident, but rather as if he suspect- 
ed something like this might happen. 

I recalled classmates in high school who 
bragged at lunch of skipping school to 
drive to the city to taunt black people 
on the streets. I remembered an old 
boyfriend I left because I could not 
condone his support of George Wal- 
lace for president. I thought of the late 
60s and the days of the riots when my 
father, alone at the family business late 
at night was forced to sell bullets to a 
group of drunk white men who came in 
off the highway looking for trouble. He 
stopped selling shells after that incident. 

The cross-burning did not threaten my 
roommates and myself into maintain- 
ing one bigot's view of the status quo. 
Julian continued to live at our house 
and he and Donna remained romantic. 
Still, the fear of further acts of violence 
left its shadow on our everyday lives. As 
the years have passed I have lost contact 
with these college friends, but I hope 
they are safe and well. 

I think of them now, especially, be- 
cause of the negative attitudes so freely 
displayed toward President Obama, his 
family, his right to govern the United 
States Some opponents of his deride 
him as "uppity" or "other." Offensive 
epithets are used to describe him, his 
wife and children. Presidential candi- 
dates exploit these racist feelings calling 
President Obama names, casting asper- 
sions on his motives, and generally 



treating him with disrespect. It is one 
thing to disagree with the President on 
political grounds, and quite another to 
subject him to racists slurs. Sometimes, 
I wonder if certain people hate Obama 
even more because he is half- white. 

Can people overcome their preju- 
dices? I'd like to think so, but I have 
to say that most of the people in my 
life have become more entrenched in 
their beliefs as they have aged, with the 
majority becoming more prejudiced. 
My younger son likes to play Janis Ian's 
song "Society's Child" on YouTube. The 
attitudes revealed about an interracial 
couple in this song, which was a hit in 
1967 despite being suppressed in some 
radio markets, are a puzzle to him. 
His context for understanding is vastly 
different than mine, as he was not wit- 
ness to the struggles of the Civil Rights 
movement and he does not associate in 
circles where segregation and racism 
are acceptable. 

And perhaps his incomprehension is a 
sign of change. Change, like peace, said 
W.B. Yeats, ordinarily comes "dropping 
slow." But if my son cannot conceive of 
racist behavior, perhaps a generational 
shift has already occurred, moving us 
toward more positive definitions of 
human dignity and worth. I only know 
that I never expected that in 2012, "the 
glorious future" of my youth, that we 
would be subject to such demonstra- 
tions of bigotry as those currently 
displayed by the spluttering pundits 
in certain quarters and their political 
henchmen. The white majority is soon 
to be a thing of the past. Perhaps we 
are witnessing the last tortured gasp of 
those who want to blame someone for 
their impending loss of power. 



www. groundcovernews.com 



YOU HEARD IT HERE 



Buses and mass transit in Washtenaw County 



continued from page 4 

downtown, and of those, 48 percent 
take the bus at least part-way to work. 
"A lot of employers do think that having 
[public] transportation is important to 
attracting employees," Shore said. 

Mike Morgan, manager at Potbelly 
Sandwich Works on State Street, 
confirmed this. Almost all his 
employees, both students and locals, > 
rely on public transit. He would be 
interested in seeing a countywide 



plan implemented, especially one 
that would access the northwest 
corner of Ann Arbor. Still, he believes 
in the importance of the current 
system and services like the Go! Pass, 
through which downtown employers 
can purchase inexpensive unlimited 
bus passes for their employees. "Its 
essential for my employees to be able 
to commute to and from work while 
saving money on parking and fuel," 
Morgan said. 



Local soccer club dreams big 



continued from page 5 

Australia, Italy, Brazil, and France. The 
2012 tournament is scheduled to take 
place in Mexico City. The Homeless 
World Cup Foundation reports that 
playing organized soccer has helped 
more than 70 percent of the players to 
establish secure housing, beat substance 
addictions, and find stable employment. 

Street Soccer USA is the national 
program that oversees teams in 16 cities 
across the United States, including 
the SSPORT team in Ann Arbor. The 
Street Soccer USA Cup is held annually, 



' with the 2012 venue set in New York 
City. Eight men and eight women are 
selected from the field of competitors 
at the USA Cup to participate on 
Team USA. The Homeless World 
Cup Foundation does national team 
rankings each year and Team USA 
currently is ranked number 21 in the 
world. 

The SSPORT program has helped 
reduce homelessness among 
participants from 57 percent down to 
17percent. There has also been a 35 



Many hurdles remain for the 
countywide transit plan. Voters must 
approve funding for the authority, and 
municipalities may opt out at any time. 
Still, this is part of a growing trend 
toward regional public transportation 
echoed across the country, including 
other parts of Michigan. 

For Shore, there are clear reasons why 
public transportation has become 
such a popular option. Public transit 



percent increase in employment among 
the participants, along with a 15 percent 
increase in involvement in substance 
abuse treatment programs and. an 18 
percent increase in involvement in 
mental health treatment programs. 

The SSPORT team is currently 
preparing for the Kevin Polk Midwest 
Memorial Tournament, which will be* 
held at the Wide World Sports Center 
on May 12 at 12 p.m. This year's event 
is co-sponsored by the Washtenaw 
County Sheriff's Department. The 
sustainability of the program depends 



"actually contributes to a more vibrant 
economy," Shore observed, by freeing 
up parking and roads for visitors to 
the city, as well as allowing residents 
to save money on gas. She also sees it 
as a powerfuf way of "getting to know 
your community" by forming personal 
connections with other patrons and 
sharing a common experience. "It's 
where the world is moving." 



exclusively on donor support. All funds 
raised support the SSPORT program 
and will be used for equipment, 
uniforms, and costs for travel to the 
USA Homeless Cup in New York in 
June. The tournament is named after 
Kevin Polk, a street soccer player from 
Fort Worth, Texas who passed away this 
year. 

More information about the 
tournament will be available at 
www.ewashtenaw.org/government/ 
departments/port/street_soccer 



Strange (but Mostly True) Stories About a Mother and her Daughter • Cy Klone © 80 12 



WeUJ think I'll take a 
nap now... 



Riiight. Another "nap" 
in the laundry basket? 



What are you implying? 




You think I haven't seen 
the way you squirm and 
roll around in his sweaty 
clothes while purring 
insanely? 



What can I say? 

I enjoy strong male scents. 




Those strong male scents 
make you crazier than 
catnip. Are you sure you 
don't have a problem? 



Cryptoquote 

Solution 



"There are weapons that are simply 
thoughts. For the record, prejudices 
can kill and suspicion can destroy/' 

- Rod Serling 




Is anyone getting hurt? 




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www. groundcovernews.com 



STREET BUZZ 



People connecting and creating friendships through the rotating shelter 



by Shoshana Mandel 

It has been nearly 20 years since a few 
churches began providing a place to 
sleep during the cold weather months, 
yet the Rotating Shelter is still unknown 
to many in the community. 

Traditionally, these congregations 
have provided evening and morning 
transportation, a space to sleep and 
bathrooms, outdoor space for those 
who smoke, volunteers who spend the 
night, snacks, supervision, and even 
sometimes entertainment. But the 
single most valued and talked about 
commodity this year was warmth of 
spirit and caring connections that 
volunteers made with their guests. 
Great food was a strong contender. , 

Laura Girbach, a Zion Lutheran Church 
Rotating Shelter volunteer for almost 
20 years, explained why she continues 
doing this. "Helping keeps me aware 
and gets me outside of my comfort 
zone," Girbach said. "Most of us are 
only one or two pay checks away from 
this situation." * . 

Surprising connections can happen. As 
she described, "One young volunteer 
had been really nervous until she sat 
down with a guest for a meal, and 
found out how much they had in 
common. . . earlier that evening she had 
been milling around in the kitchen not 
interacting with anyone." 

Reflecting on what stood out for them 
in their experiences this year, some of 
the guests cited those congregations 
whose volunteers made the effort to 
talk with them, making them feel 
welcome. They discussed some of the 
special things that happened such as 
receiving books in Spanish, a job offer, 
free haircuts, socks, overflowing bags 
of toiletries, pizza and movie nights, 
breakfast with a late wake-up, hot 
soups, and amazing desserts. 

What is really special about this 
program is that it raises awareness 
and provides opportunities for people 
to connect with people they might 
not ordinarily meet. Jane Hayes, a 
coordinator at First Presbyterian 
Church of Ann Arbor talked about the 
role of hospitality. 



"It is much more than 
giving a roof for the 
night," Hayes said. "It 
means smiles, sharing 
stories, asking what you 
can do to make them 
more comfortable. It is 
not enough to just do 
shelter; go a few more 
steps and treat them 
with respect. I was 
amazed at how I could 
relate to many of the 
guests whose lives were 
similar to mine until a 
job loss set a downward 
spiral in motion." 

The Religious , 

Coalition for the 
Homeless assumed 
financial responsibility 
for aspects of the 
Rotating Shelter this 
year due to financial 
constraints at the Shelter 
Association of Washtenaw County 
(SAWC). Ron Gregg, who spearheaded 
the fundraising efforts and is one of 
the leaders of the Coalition, says that 
the Coalition was formed due to a 
realization that together, the religious 
groups could do more than any one 
congregation could do alone. He 
was surprised how quickly things 
came together last summer when the 
churches were approached for funds 
and a majority contributed. 

The coalition hired me and a co-worker 
to replace the shelter social worker 
who had previously worked with the 
Rotating Shelter. -Each night one of us 
checked themen in and screened them 
for alcohol use, transferred them to the 
congregation-supplied transportation 
and then followed them to the site, 
remaining with them until lights-out 
at 10 p.m. We handled any problems, 
oriented the volunteers, kept the shelter 
informed, and were on-call through the 
night in case emergencies occurred. 

We mediated conflicts due to 
disruptions or someone taking more 
than their fair share of something. 
Difficult tasks involved removing 
someone due to problematic behavior 
or substance use. Sometimes volunteers 
asked how to talk to the guests. At 




Shelter volunteers Steve Ennis and Tim Schenk load up the truck to move bedding to the next house of worship 



the same time some of the guests 
speculated why volunteers did not talk 
with them. However, over the course 
of each week, we watched friendships 
grow where earlier skepticism or 
mistrust existed. 

We learned that both groups are 
comprised of parents, grandparents, 
veterans, and students, working people, 
people in recovery, people oilt of work, 
retirees, and people with problems, 
someone's child, friend, neighbor, 
confidante, readers, writers, thinkers, 
introverts and extroverts. 

One guest told me that I was acting 
like I "looked down on them." I was 
shocked at first and did not know how 
to respond. It was only much later that 
I knew he was justified in his feelings 
and partially correct. Here I was, 
standing over the guests each night. I 
was shepherding them into the cars, 
or handing out blankets or pillows. I 
was reminding them of how to behave, 
asking someone to turn down their 
music or leave the rotation because they 
were intoxicated. 

What they did not know was that I 
cherished these exchanges, thought 
about them long after I left for the 
evening. Despite being a social worker 
for more than 20 years, this experience 



was impacting me in a way I had never 
been impacted before. 

The Rotating Shelter's 23 host 
congregations solicit volunteers from 
within their own membership to 
provide as many as 100 volunteers for 
the week or two that the men (there 
are no women for now) reside with 
them. The volunteers are diverse 
in age and backgrounds. There are 
energetic youth starting conversations 
effortlessly, playing a game of cards, or 
sharing a card trick or a joke. At the 
other end of the spectrum, there are 
the leaders of the volunteers who did 
the planning, offered blessings before 
a meal, explained the special treats for 
the week, compiled spread sheets, filled 
volunteer slots, bought food, planned 
menus, and organized drivers. . * 

Dan McConnell volunteered every 
week and procured a rental truck paid 
for by the coalition. With the help 
of several of the guests and coalition 
volunteers, he retrieved bedding, 
exchanged dirty linens for clean, and 
delivered them all to the next site. 

The rotating shelter embodied 
collaboration at every level this year. 
The relationships forged in the process 
made us all stronger. 



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